PROP 56- Save Lives California!

African American Leaders Stand Up to Big Tobacco;
Urge for Yes on Prop 56

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LOS ANGELES — Key political, health and education leaders from Los Angeles’ African American communities united on Friday and joined a robust statewide coalition in support of the initiative to reduce tobacco’s deadly toll in California.

Speaking to press outside of the LA Sentinel’s offices, Assemblyman Reggie Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) and LA Community College Trustee Sydney Kamlager sounded an alarm about tobacco’s impact on African American communities and the health of all Californians. They were joined by representatives from the American Heart Association, California NAACP and the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.

“Our communities are being targeted” said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer. “African Americans smoke more and die more because of the tobacco industry’s deadly products and marketing tactics. Prop 56 is a crucial step towards making our communities healthier.”

  • Every year 45,000 African Americans die from smoking-related diseases and are 20% more likely to contract lung and bronchus cancer than white men.
  • In California, African Americans smoke 40% more than any other ethnic or racial group.
  • Nationally, African-American children between the ages 3-11 are twice as likely as white children to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

Prop 56 taxes tobacco to fund smoking prevention and healthcare for the poor.  Prop 56 will save lives by helping prevent a new generation of kids from taking up this deadly, costly habit of smoking by generating billions of dollars for tobacco prevention and education.

“In every state that has raised the tobacco tax, smoking rates have decreased,” said Carol McGruder, Co-Chair for the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. “Big tobacco is only worried about their bottom line in California and could care less about the well-being of our children and communities.”

Nearly 17,000 California kids begin smoking every year, and one-third of them will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses. By generating billions of dollars for tobacco prevention and education with a $2 per pack user fee, Prop 56 will save lives by discouraging a new generation of kids from becoming addicted to tobacco.

“Tobacco companies have poured millions of dollars into advertising to keep youth and communities of color addicted to their products,” said LA Community College Trustee Sydney Kamlager. “Whether it’s with menthol advertising or new candy-flavored e-cigarettes, they find new ways to target these communities. We see what they are doing and can’t stand by and let them get away with it,” said Kamlager.

Tobacco companies have developed aggressive youth advertising techniques, since 90% of smokers start when they are teenagers. Proposition 56 will help raise money for new youth prevention and education efforts in California’s education systems.

“The money raised through this initiative will do even more good, by helping us cure tobacco-related diseases that kill so many Californians,” said Laphonza Butler, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California. “The new protections against secondhand smoke in schools and workplaces will be particularly beneficial to communities of color in our state. 2016 will go down as the year California stood up to this predatory industry.”



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The Facts

The California Healthcare, Research And Prevention Tobacco Tax Act Of 2016

The California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 will increase California’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with an equivalent increase on products containing nicotine derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association in California are standing up to Big Tobacco to save lives and help smokers quit. This initiative:

  • Saves lives. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in California.1 This initiative will save lives by preventing kids from getting hooked on tobacco, improving health care, and fighting cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
  • Counters Big Tobacco’s predatory attempts to hook a new generation of smokers. Thousands of youth become addicted to tobacco each year.2 Now tobacco companies are targeting kids with candy-flavored electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. It has been proven that higher tobacco taxes reduce teen smoking.3
  • Asks smokers to pay their fair share to improve health care and fight cancer. This is simply a user fee on those who continue smoking. It will mean smokers help pay for cancer treatment, smoking prevention, health care, and research to fight cancer and other tobacco-related

This initiative will save lives.

Cancer and other tobacco-related diseases kill more people than car accidents, murder, suicide, alcohol, illegal drugs, and AIDS combined.4 This $2 per pack user fee on tobacco will save lives by preventing kids from getting hooked on tobacco, improving health care, helping people quit smoking, and researching cures for cancer and other tobacco- related diseases.

Increasing the tobacco tax will reduce teen smoking.

Studies show that 90 percent of smokers start before the age of 21.5 Nearly 17,000 California kids get hooked on smoking every year and half of them will eventually die from tobacco-related illnesses.6 Now the tobacco industry is targeting kids for a lifetime of addiction with candy- flavored electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Teen use of e- cigarettes grew 10 fold in the past five years.7 Teens who use e- cigarettes are three times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes within a year.8

This user fee asks smokers to pay their fair share to improve health care and fight cancer. Because of smoking, California taxpayers spend $3.5 billion dollars each year on treating cancer and other tobacco-related diseases through Medi-Cal.9 The majority of funds generated by this tobacco tax will be used to improve existing health care programs, prevent smoking, and fund research into cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.

Tough transparency and accountability measures keep Sacramento bureaucrats and politicians from diverting funds.

This initiative protects our interests by prohibiting bureaucrats and politicians from using the funds raised through this tobacco tax for any purposes other than those explicitly laid out in the measure. It strictly limits administrative spending to no more than 5 percent of the revenue generated by the tax. It also requires biennial audits by the nonpartisan State Auditor and that reports be made available to the public.